SoCS — Beginnings and Endings

720351BE-7122-45EB-98A7-03285D72CD92After my teachers in high school drummed it into my head that you’re never ever supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, I was shocked to find out that most language experts don’t actually abide by this so-called “rule.” Some grammar mavens even call that “rule” a myth.

What are prepositions? Actually, prepositions are some of the most frequently used words in all of English, such as of, to, for, with, on, and at. A preposition is a word or phrase that connects a noun or pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence.

On reflection, if the “never end a sentence with a preposition” rule is a myth, what about never starting a sentence with one? Well, it turns out that using a preposition or a prepositional phrase at the beginning of a sentence is both common and grammatically correct.

The word “after,” which is the very first word of this post, is also a preposition. And that’s a good thing because Linda G. Hill challenged us, for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, to start our post with a preposition. With that in mind, I started my post with the word “after,” which is a preposition. Yay me!

And while we’re talking about “hard and fast rules” in grammar that I was taught in high school, another was to never start a sentence with a conjunction.

Well, according to Grammar Girl, “It’s fine to start a sentence with a conjunction. And, but, and or are the three most common members of a group of words known as coordinating conjunctions. In fact, a substantial percentage of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions.”

And with that, I’m going to end this post right now. It’s time to move on.

26 thoughts on “SoCS — Beginnings and Endings

  1. Paula Light August 24, 2019 / 4:53 am

    I just realized I didn’t follow the directions at all because I wanted to write a story and forgot all about them! I get like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kristianw84 August 24, 2019 / 5:23 am

    I don’t think I could bring myself to ever end a sentence with a preposition. It’s been drilled in my head for so long. I believe I was taught starting a sentence with a conjunction is acceptable. On another note, any time I see the word “conjunction,” I think of the song & immediately start singing, “Conjunction junction, what’s your function.” Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lakshmi Bhat August 24, 2019 / 5:33 am

    It was good to read about prepositions. Now rules of grammar have become so much a part of daily usage, I don’t even think of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Betul Erbasi August 24, 2019 / 5:56 am

    I am a linguist and that is what we are trying to explain to people. The rules you mention are prescriptive and not really because of the language itself. There are social reasons. For the preposition rule, the reason is that Latin does not separate prepositions from the noun, so English should not either (because Latin is prestigious). But the problem is that the preposition is part of the word in Latin, so it cannot be separated anyway. But English is different.
    Our guideline is that if people use it naturally, then it is correct. That is a ‘descriptive’ approach.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mathew | Blog of the Wolf Boy August 24, 2019 / 6:06 am

    When I began reading this I was going to mention that conjunction fact because it was a myth that I lived with for too long as well!

    What the heck have our teachers been teaching us? 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sca11y August 24, 2019 / 6:11 am

    Wow! You paid attention in class!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maggie August 24, 2019 / 8:12 am

    Grammar seems to be more fluid these days. Or maybe I don’t fret it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marilyn Armstrong August 24, 2019 / 9:04 am

    All of what you said is true. If you reread your text and delete most of those dangling or initial prepositions, not only does your text sound cleaner, but you avoid the constant repetition of “that” “of” “and” plus others. ESPECIALLY “that.”

    There are times when you need such phrases to clarify a sentence and make sure the reader knows where that verb or noun belongs, but typically, these one word comments dangle because they are unnecessary. The sentence sounds better when you remove them.

    I had a couple of good editors over the years. They taught me the joy of deleting the dangles and writing straightforward sentences. Now if ONLY I had managed to lose the typos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laura August 24, 2019 / 9:50 am

    Oh yes, the ending with a preposition thing seems to be one of those rules I can’t shake. Too many years having it drilled into my head, I suppose. I’m super glad to hear about starting a sentence with And or But because it seems to have fallen into my conversational writing and I just can’t give that one up.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Shweta Suresh August 24, 2019 / 10:25 am

    It was good to go back to the basics. I’ve become so accustomed to writing without giving to grammar!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 August 26, 2019 / 11:45 pm

    English even if it is my first language is just so confusing 😃🥴💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 27, 2019 / 7:17 am

      I’m glad it’s my first language. Otherwise I’m afraid I would never have been able to learn it.

      Like

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